For a country music artist whose fan-favorite hits include “Ol’ Red,” a song about a dog’s love leading to his master’s eventual escape from jail, to songs about professing one’s love over an answering machine in “Austin,” Blake Shelton may seem like the last person to step out with a pop song.
However, Shelton recently took “Home” — originally a hit for Grammy Award-winning pop artist Michael Bublé — to the top of the country chart to become his fourth No. 1 single. During a Monday afternoon (Aug. 25) celebration at BMI’s Nashville offices, Shelton thanked his producer and best friend Brent Rowan as well as songwriters Amy Foster and Alan Chang.
“Thank you, Amy and Alan, for writing a song that’s kind of turned my career around,” he said. “And Michael wherever he is.”
Bublé was unable to attend the party, but Foster and Chang were on hand to celebrate the song’s success and were also awarded guitars commemorating the No. 1. Foster, who has written songs for the likes of Josh Groban, Diana Krall and Destiny’s Child, said she wasn’t surprised a country artist cut the song and couldn’t have been happier by Shelton’s decision.
However, Chang, who is Bublé’s musical director, joked that he felt a bit slighted. He told those in attendance, “Blake wasn’t one of the first to cover the song. It was actually me.” Referring to Bublé’s success with the song, Chang added, “There was no party like this.”
But it was Shelton who did most of his talking, however, prior to the party. He opened up about his musical success as well as his personal life. “As the guy that sang ‘Ol’ Red’ and ‘Some Beach’ type of songs, ‘Home’ kind of came out of left field for a lot of people,” he explained. “‘Home’ was definitely the gateway musically for me to step into some new things and for people to be more open-minded.
“I want to be a guy that sings songs that are hard to sing because that’s exciting to me — to push myself as a vocalist … and I want to stand out on the radio, and I don’t want to try to figure out how to fit in anymore. I want to break the mold.”
He then elaborated on what home meant to him, not in terms of the song, but rather as a person.
“For me, home is as simple as it sounds,” he said. “I mean, I don’t feel like I’m myself when I’m away from Oklahoma for a couple of weeks. …There’s nothing worse than going home and realizing that something as simple as I’ve kind of lost my accent because I’ve been gone for a couple of months. The state of mind that I get in that makes me feel comfortable really only happens when I’m home.”
Shelton talked in great length about his relationship with girlfriend Miranda Lambert. “When she’s not there, there’s a piece missing, too,” he said. “Miranda makes home, home.”
He revealed that the two were now living down the street from one another in Oklahoma and have been working on new material together.
“That’s another part of our relationship that’s kind of grown,” he said. “When you have two people that are country music artists that write songs and love to sing … sooner or later, there’s gonna be a guitar that’ll appear, and the next thing you know, we’re writing a song. You can do some things that are new with an artist like Miranda. She breaks the mold. She can pretty much get away with anything. As a writer, that’s exciting to be able to explore that and go there with her and her music.”
In addition, he announced he and Lambert will be touring together this fall and playing small arenas.
“It’s exciting and it’s really scary for me at the same time — not as much for her,” he said. “I mean, she’s definitely been somebody that came out of the box and has been kicking ass since day one. My career’s been a slower build than that, but I’m finally gonna take the step, and she’s gonna do it with me.
“I’m not opening for Rascal Flatts anymore or Toby [Keith]. You’ve got to hope that I’m enough and she’s enough, and I finally feel like we’re there. It’s that much more exiting that she’s taking that step with me.”